Don’t miss our guide to Vegan Advent here!
Savoury festive recipes:
Cashew Nut Roast with Sage and Onion stuffing
A sixth of a cup/30g/1oz of vegan margarine
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium leek, finely chopped
1 and a half cups of hot water
1 teaspoon of yeast extract or our favourite Vecon Stock
3 cups/550g/16oz of ground cashew nuts (or other nuts of your choice – almonds work well too)
2 Tablespoons of soya flour
2 teaspoons of fresh herbs – winter savoury is great (if using dried 1 teaspoon)
3 cups/160g/6oz of white bread crumbs. Orgran Rice Crumbs are an excellent substitute for a gluten free version, easier too, we use them all the time.
seasalt and pepper to taste
sage and onion stuffing (see recipe further down the page)
Melt the margarine (in a large pan for mixing) and cook the celery and leek in it for a few minutes. Mix the yeast extract into the hot water (alternatively you could use any stock you like) and add this to the leek and celery. Stir in the soya flour, nuts, herbs, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper and mix well. Allow to cool slightly while you grease a loaf tin. Place half the nut roast mixture in the tin and press down well – then add the sage and onion stuffing (pressing down well again) and place the rest of the nut roast mixture on top. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180/360 then turn out of the tin and slice. Nice served with all the traditional trimmings.
Variations:- you can substitute wine (red or white) or soya milk for the water and yeast extract. The sage and onion stuffing is optional – it works just as well without it and might actually slice up easier! A layer of sliced mushrooms and garlic is an alternative to the stuffing.
Pictured roast is made with red onion and lots of fresh rosemary. Speaking of rosemary, an absolutely perfect accompaniment for any nut roast either hot or sliced up cold in sandwiches, is the rosemary and redcurrant jelly detailed here on the blog. If reading this in winter, sorry, it’s a bit late to go out and get redcurrants (though rosemary plants grow all year round!), but it’s a great one to make for next year. A jar of that would be a very nice gift too.
Creamy Mushroom Puff
A third of a cup/60g/2oz of vegan margarine
4 tablespoons of plain white flour
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or very finely chopped (this can be reduced or left out if desired)
3 cups of mushrooms, sliced
half a litre/500ml of soya milk
1 glass of white wine (or stock)
handful of chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
approx. 500g/18oz of frozen puff pastry (this even comes ready-rolled now for extra laziness!!!)
Melt the margarine and cook the onion and garlic in it for a few minutes and then add the sliced mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add the flour and stir well. Gradually add the soya milk stirring all the time and then the wine and keep stirring on a low heat until the sauce thickens. Once thick remove from the heat and add your seasoning and the parsley. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the pastry. Roll out into 2 wide rectangular shapes reserving some pastry for decoration. Place one sheet of pastry on a greased baking tray. Heap the slightly cooled sauce onto it leaving a space round the edges. Place the top sheet on and seal up the edges with some soya milk or water (fold over if needed). Make some small slits on the top of the puff and let your artistic side shine with the reserved pastry! I usually make holly leaves to place on the top but do whatever you like. Glaze with soya milk and then bake in a medium hot oven for about half an hour or until the pastry seems cooked (no soggy bits and nicely puffed up!)
Nice served with gravy, roast potatoes, stuffing, vegan sausages, cranberry sauce and vegetables of your choice – a feast! Pictured puff was very easy, missing out the sealing up edges part, just plonking it between 2 pieces of pastry in a tin with sides!!
Don’t forget the easy peasy vegan Christmas dinner option: VBite’s Celebration Roast. It comes ready sliced with sausages wrapped in ‘bacon’ and a turkey flavour gravy. Available from online health food shop Goodness Direct and also Holland and Barrett who let you order chilled items online to pick up in store.
‘Now that’s what I call a Christmas dinner’ mushroom parcel by Cat
There are a few steps to this but most can be made a day ahead… in fact I normally assemble it all the evening before and then it is ready to go…
300mls/just over 1 cup rice
approx. 600mls/2 and a quarter cups hot stock ( I use Kallo Mushroom Stock Cubes)
1 onion, finely chopped
couple of cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
Jar of antipasto mushrooms, minus a tbsp mushrooms (make sure they are vegan), drain and reserve the oil.
big handful of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
a few dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water and then finely chopped
tsp dried oregano ( or fresh if you can)
fresh basil, sliced
1 cup defrosted vegemince or 1 cup rehydrated soya mince
remaining tbsp of mushrooms
enough sundried tomato puree to bind it together and some fresh basil
1 onion finely chopped,
1 cup oats
1/2 cup suet,
1 tsp mixed herbs and some salt and pepper.
Aprox. 500g./18oz of frozen, vegan puff pastry
Put some of the reserved mushroom oil in a pan and saute the onions and garlic until soft, add the rice and mix it all together. Add all the different mushrooms and the oregano if dried. Mix again and then gradually add the stock stirring constantly for that creamy risotto texture. More or less liquid may be needed. Add fresh herbs , mix and set aside.
In a blender mix together approx. 1 cup defrosted vegemince or 1 cup rehydrated soya mince, remaining tbsp of mushrooms, enough sundried tomato puree to bind it together and some fresh basil
chop an onion finely and mix it with 1 cup oats to 1/2 cup suet,1 tsp mixed herbs and some salt and pepper. bind with a little water to form a sausage…be careful not to add too much water.
Have ready some defrosted vegan puff pastry rolled out into a rectangle.
Get the puff pastry and spread it lightly with sundried tomato paste and stick basil leaves on to this. Get the cooled mushroom risotto and spread it onto the pastry leaving room at all ends… you wont need all the risotto. On top of this place the soya mince filling and then place the stuffing sausage along the centre. Fold up the sides until they meet in the middle…hopefully!! If they are reluctant to stick down then brush with a little soya milk. Put on a baking tray. It is advisable, if possible, to raise the pastry parcel off the tray using a rack as I have found the bottom has a tendency to burn. You can now leave it until Christmas Day! To cook follow the temperature guide on the packet of puff pastry. Easy!
Also check out Cat’s Garlic-Lemon Seitan Roast with stuffing over on the Modern Housewife blog
Spinach-Tofu Manicotti by Secular Pagan
Not exactly a traditional Yule/Christmas dish, but it’s red, white, and green, so it fits.
(stuffs about ten manicotti “tubes”)
1 pound/450g firm tofu, drained and rinsed
1 10-oz/300g box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning (blend of oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil, sage)
3 green onions (scallions), including green part, sliced thinly
8 ounces/230g (more or less) white button mushrooms, chopped in big chunks
PASTA: 1 package large manicotti tubes
SAUCE: About 28 ounces/750g of your favorite pasta sauce, homemade or prepackaged.
Plop tofu into a medium-sized mixing bowl and mash/crumble with your hands. Add spinach and fold into tofu with a fork, using fork to break up strands of spinach and mix evenly with the crumbled tofu. Stir in Italian seasoning, onions, and mushrooms.
Boil about 10 manicotti tubes just shy of al dente (they won’t fall apart this way when you’re stuffing them) and drain. Use your fingers to push clumps of filling into the manicotti tubes till each one is plump and full. Lay them in a covered casserole dish (more than one layer is O.K.) and pour your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce (homemade or bottled) over the whole thing. Cover and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, maybe a little less (say, 45 minutes) if you have the manicotti spread out in a single layer. Remove from oven and give it a few minutes to cool off before attempting to eat.
Note: I have to keep my sodium intake low, so I don’t add salt to anything I make from scratch (except some baked goods), so some of you might prefer to add a. 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the filling.
Glazed Parsnips and Carrots with Pistachio
Definitely the star of Christmas dinner 2011, pictured right, and so simple, as often is the way with the best food 🙂
8 medium parsnips (you can of course use bigger/smaller and adjust quantities)
8 medium carrots
a little sunflower oil to rub
a couple of teaspoons of maple or golden syrup
a teaspoon of rough seasalt
a handful of natural pistachios (not salted or roasted)
Peel/scrape the vegetables and cut into quarters, once lengthways and once across the middle. Rub them with oil and place in roasting tin. Drizzle syrup. Sprinkle salt and pistachios. Roast in a hot oven for about half an hour.
Cheat’s nut roast rolls!
Very simple if you buy a nut roast mix and some frozen puff pastry! Simply make up the nut roast mix and place it in the puff pastry in roll shapes. Nice done like cocktail sausage rolls for serving with drinks. Bake in a medium oven for about 20 minutes.
Sage and Onion Roast Potatoes
4 teaspoons of dried sage or 8 teaspoons of freshly chopped sage
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 finely chopped onion
4 tablespoons of medium oatmeal
Potatoes, peeled and cut to desired size (this coating is enough for about 4 or 5 lbs/2 or 3 kilos.)
salt to taste
Par boil the potatoes then just when they are beginning to soften remove from heat and drain. Place in baking tray and rub the coating all over them (careful!) – roast in a hot oven until nice and crispy (30 minutes plus). You might want to baste with a little more oil half way through for extra crispiness!
: sesame roast potatoes – coat the potatoes in sunflower oil and plenty sesame seeds before roasting – this has a lovely flavour too. Pictured are plain roast pots coated in flour prior to roasting and the oil heated in a hot oven first and also roast parsnips and peppers roasted in a mixture of sunflower oil and maple syrup.
Sage and Onion stuffing
6 slices of wholemeal bread Orgran Rice Crumbs can be subbed for a gluten free version)
half a cup/85g/3oz of vegan margarine
4 teaspoons of dried sage or 8 of fresh, chopped sage
1 finely chopped large onion
salt to taste
Melt the margarine in a saucepan and then cook the onion in it until soft. Break up the wholemeal bread with your hands (into fairly small pieces) and then mix into the onion and margarine with the sage and salt. This can be pressed into an oven-proof bowl for baking or if you like meat analogues it can be sandwiched between two Redwood Cheatin’ Turkey Roasts, wrapped in foil and baked in the oven!
(traditional Scottish oatmeal stuffing – quite bland, not to everyone’s liking!)
1 cup of medium oatmeal
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
a little salt
Cook the onion in the oil until soft and then stir in the oatmeal and salt and cook for a few minutes longer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking – then use as Sage and onion stuffing.
Sweet festive recipes:
Ice Cream Bombe
Based on a Jamie Oliver recipe this, we just veganised! See extra pictures of the various steps here
1 vegan sponge cake, thinly sliced up (see cake page if you need a recipe)
some jam to spread on the cake
1 or 2 tubs of vegan ice cream – we used Swedish Glace Vanilla
a small bag of unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
a handful of glace cherries
some dairy-free white chocolate buttons or chocolate drops
a bar of good dark chocolate
Line a round pudding bowl with cake slices (leave some for the base) and spread a layer of jam over them. Get your other ingredients ready before taking the ice cream out of the freezer, then layer it up. A layer of ice cream, a sprinkling of nuts, ice cream, cherries, ice cream, buttons, ice cream then the last slices of cake on the base. Cling film the whole bowl really well and use a plate to press down and squash all the layers together well. Bung it in the freezer until you want to eat it (can be made weeks in advance). Place in the fridge for about an hour before removing from bowl (may have to run outside of bowl under hot tap, being careful not to wet the pudding!) and pouring the melted chocolate over the top (it sets fast on the cold bombe). Slice up and enjoy 🙂
Triple Chocolate Variant: use chocolate cake, and chocolate ice cream and maybe even chocolate spread though cherry or apricot jam would be good too 🙂
Playmobil do a lovely range of non-edible Advent Calendars, with great scenes to build from traditional Nativity to dragons, unicorns, pirates and Santa’s workshop.
Chocolate Yule Log Cake
(for people who can’t do swiss roll!!)
1 chocolate cake baked in a loaf tin – basic chocolate cake recipe here or gluten free one here (or 1 chocolate swiss roll if you can do it!!)
1 batch of vegan chocolate ‘butter’ icing: Beat together half a cup/130g/4oz vegan margarine with 1 and a third cups/210g/7 oz sifted icing sugar and one tablespoon of cocoa (also sifted to avoid lumps). Beat in a few drops of natural vanilla extract.
1 tablespoon of icing sugar for dusting
1 festive cake board or large plate and decorations of your choice (fake flowers or berries, holly leaves, small baubles etc.)
Cut the corner off one end of the cake and turn it round to look like a branch (excuse rough drawing!) – arrange on the cake board or plate.
Secure the branch with some of the icing.
With a knife smooth off the corners of the log to make it rounded.
Cover the entire cake with the rest of the icing, then use a fork to make lines and knots like a log 🙂
Dust with icing sugar.
Decorate to your hearts content.
Little Chocolate logs
1 chocolate cake prepared in a large square tin so it will not be too deep ( visit the chocolate page if you need a recipe for this)
A bar of dark vegan chocolate
icing sugar for dusting
glace cherries and crystallised angelica for decoration or children might prefer Whizzers chocolate beans or other sweets – in the picture weve used pecan nuts
Cut the cake into small rectangles ( 10 cm. X 4 cm. and 2 or 3 cm. deep). Cut thin pieces of marzipan and place on top of the cakes. Pour melted chocolate over the top of each log, decorate to your hearts content and then dust with the icing sugar (snow!).
Also see a gluten free and ‘fudgey’ version of this recipe here
Delicious and colourful biscuits or cookies – the ‘jewels’ are optional but very bright and special – makes about 25 medium (3 inch/9cm) biscuits.
150g/5oz/three quarter cup caster sugar
150g/5 oz/three quarter cup vegan margarine
5 tablespoons of soya milk
300g/10 oz/1and a half cups of plain flour
teaspoon vanilla extract (or according to pack instructions)
boiled sweets – different colours is good
Preheat oven to 200C/400F and grease baking sheets. Cream together the sugar and marg. Mix in the soya milk and vanilla and then the flour. The mixing of the flour is best done with your hands. You should have a workable dough (add more flour if it’s too wet or more soya milk if too dry and doesn’t hold together well). Roll out on a floured board (to just under 1 cm thick) and cut into shapes – cutters in festive shaped such as stars, trees and angels are lovely but plain round ones are effective too – you can use a drinking glass if you don’t have cutters. Lay on baking sheets. Make a hole in the middle of each biscuit – plain round, diamonds, stars – whatever you like, as long as it is big enough for your sweet! Place a sweet in each hole. Bake for about 10 minutes for soft bake cookies or a little longer for dryer, crunchy ones. The sweets will melt down and fill the hole in the oven and then reset once cool.
If you want these for tree decoration ONLY you can prelong their life by replacing the sugar in the recipe with salt and adding a couple of tablespoons of PVA glue to the mix (do not eat after doing this option!!) Prior to baking make a small hole in the top with a drinking straw – once cooked and cooled you can thread ribbons through for hanging.
Easy chocolate-rum truffles
Some left over cake, crumbled – about 2 cups
2 tablespoons of Apricot jam
2 tablespoons of rum (or rum flavouring)
1 teaspoon of cocoa
50g./2oz (half a large bar) of vegan chocolate, melted
Coating of choice – cocoa, chopped nuts, coconut etc.
Mix everything together and then squeeze into balls (about 5 cm. diameter) and roll in the coating. Place in petit four cases (or on a festive napkin as in slightly bizarre picture).
Making your own sweets is actually quite fun – children have a great time with this too. They are also nice gifts if placed in a pretty box or packet.
Vegan chocolate – I recommend Maya Gold for these – it’s orange spiciness is perfect for this time of year.
Nuts of your choice (hazel, walnut, pecan, almond, brazil)
Vegan marzipan (many supermarkets stock this)
It’s very simple! Melt the chocolate and then dip things in it – nuts, marzipan balls, dates – and then place them on a sheet of grease-proof paper to set. Decorate with angelica, glace cherries (can be made to look like holly) and flaked almonds before the chocolate sets and then you can sprinkle with cocoa, coconut or icing sugar.
Dates can be destoned and stuffed with marzipan for a non-chocolate treat.
Place in petit four cases and enjoy!
Mincemeat by Cat
1lb/450g cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
8oz/225g shredded vegetable suet
12 oz/350g sultanas
16 oz/450g dried apricots
12oz/350g soft dark brown sugar
grated rind and juice of 2 oranges
grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
2oz/60g whole almonds, slivered
4 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
half a nutmeg, grated
6 tbsp vegan brandy
Mix all ingredients ,except the brandy, together in a bowl then cover and leave for 12 hours. To prevent fermentation place the mincemeat in a 120C/ 225F oven for 3 hours. Then allow to cool, stir in brandy and put in clean jars and seal.
Christmas Pud by Catriona
4oz/120g glace cherries, halved
10z/300g ground almonds
4oz/120g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
8oz/230g dark brown molasses sugar
4oz/120gsoft, fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
8oz/230g vegetable suet
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp black treacle
4 floz/125ml/half a cup soya milk
soak the sultanas in plenty sherry
Grease a 2 pint pudding basin. Put the soaked fruit, cherries and ground almonds into a large bowl. Add the flour, salt, spices, sugar, breadcrumbs, suet, lemon zest and juice, treacle, soya milk and 4 tbsp sherry. Mix well to make a soft mixture. Spoon into the basin, cover with two layers of greased foil and tie down. Steam for 4 hours. Cool. Cover with a circle of greaseproof paper and two layers of tinfoil. To reheat steam for three hours as before. (I have to say that when I make it I prick the pudding and feed some more sherry or brandy into it…) and don’t forget that after it is reheated pour MORE brandy over it and set it on fire.
Vegan Trifle also by Catriona.
I loved this so much before I was vegan that I veganised it one year and it is excellent… you can leave off the ‘cream’ layer if you like but I think it makes it! Note: since this recipe was written, many vegan creams are available to buy.
Make a plain vegan sponge and sandwich it together with jam. Slice it up and put it on the bottom of a trifle dish ( or other suitable deep dish) drain a tin of fruit and put on top of the sponge (or use fresh fruit. I like raspberries). Next make up a vegan jelly and pour on top of everything… leave to set. Make up custard with soya milk and pour that on top of the set jelly. Leave that to set. Now put on a thick soya cream made with…2 tbsp cornflour, 2 oz/60g vegan margarine, 1 oz/30g sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and 1/2 pt/250ml/1 cup of soya milk… blend the cornflour with a little soya milk. Add the rest of the milk gradually and transfer to a saucepan. Bring to the boil gently and stir until the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool. Cream the margarine with the sugar until pale in colour. Beat in the cooled cornflour mixture a little at a time. Add the vanilla essence.
Put the cream layer on top of the chilled custard layer. Decorate with fresh fruit and then eat voraciously.
The cream can also be turned into brandy cream by adding a spoonful of brandy…serve with Christmas pudding.
Photo courtesy of The Fattest Vegan Ever blog
Books we love:
‘Vegetarian Christmas’ by Rose Elliot. Not exclusively vegan but there is a plethora of vegan delights included and most of the lacto-ovo recipes are easily ‘veganisable’. Our favourite Christmas dinner of Chestnut and Red wine pate en croute is one of many included here along with lots of advice on taking the work out of Christmas catering. This book is full of ideas for lots of special touches which can be prepared early and frozen – a firm favourite. Now out of print but the hardcover is available cheaply from both UK and USA Amazons below and has lots of lovely photos throughout 🙂 We love this book so much we even wrote a blog post on it!
Buy UK or Buy US
‘Cooking by the Seasons – simple vegetarian feasts’ – a beautiful collection of recipes divided into the four main seasons. Most recipes are either vegan or very easily veganised – there is even a tofu salad especially for vegan goddesses! Information is given on the eight major sabbats (summer solstice, Yule etc.) along with suggested menus – suggestions for Yule include mulled wine, winter solstice pumpkin soup, red, white and green lasange and hazelnut ice cream and many, many ideas for everyday feasts. There is a really good vegan version of macaroni cheese – baked shells with brocolli and tomato. Yum yum yum.
Buy UK or Buy US
‘Letters from Father Christmas’ by JRR Tolkien. Weve all been enchanted by this lovely book of letters. Tolkien wrote one to his children each year, right down to designing beautiful stamps. The artwork throughout is stunning and the stories amusing, building each year. A lovely book.
Buy UK or Buy US
…and what about this sweet gift set for veggie kids? Herb the Vegetarian Dragon has always been a great favourite of our kids and now it comes in this ‘Peace, Love and vegetable’ set with a bendy Herb toy! See more ideas for kids in the Kids Bookstore
Buy UK or Buy US
From Ruby Roth, there’s the great ‘Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the Earth.’ Colourful and cute, full of interesting facts, collage photo illustrations and cute animal characters.
The Book People – always worth checking out what these people have in stock – heavily discounted items.
Recipe and food sites
Approved Food sell clearance food and other goods, lots of festive things at this time of year. They often stock health food brands and vegan specialities. It changes daily. Bargains to be had.
Ethical Superstore – stocks some fab food and drink from various green and fairtrade brands. They have a £4 off a £50 order offer with code X4NPP through November (2016).
Goodness Direct – a wonderful online health food shop with free delivery on orders of £35 or more – great for staples and treats!
Frugal Christmas – economical ideas for Christmas – shopping, recipes, cards and decorations.
Vegan Christmas Recipes from Parsley Soup – some really nice festive offerings from this vegan recipe site.
UK organisations (most do international orders too):
Our Vegan Family House shop: aprons, bags, t-shirts, caps, bibs, underwear, mugs, badges…
The Book People – this company sells sets of book for the price you usually pay for one – great way to stock up on gifts!
Animal Aid – chocolate, wine, clothing, footwear, toiletries, books, cards, mugs, magnets. Online ordering.
VIVA! (Vegetarians and Vegans Voice for Animals) chocolates, wine, toys, books, mugs, badges, clothing, cards. Online ordering.
Green People – wonderful vegan toiletries with no nasty chemicals – gorgeous, we love them.
The greatest single food related item we’ve ever invested in is The Vitamix. If you’re looking for a lavish, health-enhancing gift for a vegan (or anyone) this is it. Available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, ours is still blasting away 8 years on, pureeing food up into the smoothest smoothies and soups and sauces. See our blender page for more info and recipes.
Have a great festive season!